An Unprecedented December!

Posted: December 23, 2015, 1:16 pm by cspeciale


Monthly temperature departures as of December 23, 2015. Courtesy of NRCC


We made history! The prolonged period of abnormally warm temperatures throughout December 2015 has led to an unprecedented warm first month of climatologically winter here in the Northeast. Not only will this month likely go down as the warmest December ever on record for nearly all of the major Northeast cities, it likely will shatter the previous record by several degrees! Temperature anomalies for the month are already running as high as 9 - 13 degrees above normal while the previous number 1 spot holders were only 6  - 9 degrees above normal.

What's unique about this December is the record number of daily highs that exceeded 60 degrees.In particular, the period between December 10 - 15, 2015 saw consecutive highs over 60 degrees (even some 70s), setting a new record nearly each day. We then smashed the all-time warmest Christmas Eve records. A comparison to the now number 2 warm Decembers show that most cities observed more 60+ degrees days in December 2015 than ever before! See below for a table of the top 5 warmest Decembers for select Northeast cities. For kicks, we added in the record cold Decembers to remember that it can be cold this time of year.


Monthly average temperatures shown above.
December 2015 temperatures are as of December 23, 2015.


Not surprisingly, the record warmth has led to high snow deficits. While we are monitoring a potential wintry event for December 29, 2015, if the month finishes without any measurable snowfall, it will be part of only a handful of previous years to witness zero measurable snow from October to December. The table below shows those years and how much snow each city received during the following months. Interestingly, it looks like many spots during these particular seasons recorded snow into April despite the slow start to the season.



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